P&G has just held its annual Signal innovation conference for so-called industry leaders and, beaming out of the speaker line-up, is Publicis boss Arthur Sadoun. The first time in a long time a creative agency leader has been invited it seems.
P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard said: “The agency world is a tough world, and it’s frankly in many ways declining… (Publicis) is going the opposite direction. And because he (Sadoun) had the foresight, he and his predecessor, to buy Sapient and Epsilon. They knew that they had to combine creativity with data with media.”
Pritchard added: “We’re looking at totally different agency models now because the agency world isn’t going away. It’s just going to morph.”
For his part Sadoun said Publicis Groupe’s ‘Power of One’ journey had eliminated the “silos and bozos” that hoarded P&L authority. He credited this partly to Pritchard’s instruction to agencies to “make your complexity invisible to us.”
Sadoun and his team have, indeed, done a wonderful job of marketing the French-owned Publicis Groupe in the US, now its biggest market. Publicis has relatively few native US elements – Leo Burnett being the obvious one although it grew initially there by buying a Leo-led US three-agency combo called Bcom3. Media agencies like Digitas came later.
It is now comfortably the world’s most highly valued ad holding company although WPP is still bigger by revenue and headcount.